He Stays Our Nothingness

Many philosophers, believers and non believers alike, recognize the impossibility of an objective basis for meaning apart from the existence of God.

The great painter Michelangelo Buonarroti illustrates this in his poem A Prayer for Strength (below). While Michelangelo is best remembered for his famous painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; he was also a talented poet. His poetry, like his painting, told the redemptive narrative of Scripture.


Burdened with years and full of sinfulness,
With evil custom grown inveterate,
Both deaths I dread that close before me wait,
Yet feed my heart on poisonous thoughts no less.

No strength I find in mine own feebleness
To change or life or love or use or fate,
Unless Thy heavenly guidance come, though late,
Which only helps and stays our nothingness.

‘Tis not enough, dear Lord, to make me yearn
For that celestial home, where yet my soul
May be new made, and not, as erst, of nought:

Nay, ere Thou strip her mortal vestment, turn
My steps toward the steep ascent, that whole
And pure before Thy face she may be brought.